With Republicans (even after a sweeping electoral defeat) demanding a strip-down of Social Security and other benefit programs, I think it is important for every American to reflect on why we have them in the first place. The Administration has a well-written document that everyone should read:
It discusses the idea of economic security and its derivatives, and how events like the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, and the Great Depression have caused us to reexamine how the basic needs of our elderly and disabled should be insured. President Roosevelt summarizes:
Security was attained in the earlier days through the interdependence of members of families upon each other and of the families within a small community upon each other. The complexities of great communities and of organized industry make less real these simple means of security. Therefore, we are compelled to employ the active interest of the Nation as a whole through government in order to encourage a greater security for each individual who composes it... This seeking for a greater measure of welfare and happiness does not indicate a change in values. It is rather a return to values lost in the course of our economic development and expansion...
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt: Message of the President to Congress, June 8, 1934
Before we start turning up our noses at programs like Social Security and Medicare, it is important to first have a grasp on what they are and how they got there.Go Top